The Boston Red Sox opened this three-game home set with the New York Yankees with a low-scoring victory, and runs could be at a premium in the second matchup.
It figures to be a tight duel between right-handers Saturday. Kuroda (8-6, 2.65 ERA) is second in the AL in ERA and Lackey (7-6, 2.78) is fourth.
Lackey, who missed all of 2012 due to elbow surgery and was on the disabled list in April with a biceps injury, is 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA in six home starts. He has yielded two runs or fewer in a six-outing stretch in which he is 4-1 with a 2.30 ERA since June 15.
That ERA since that date matches Kuroda's in the same span over five outings. Kuroda enters with a scoreless innings streak of 12, but his ERA on the road (3.65) is far worse than his home mark (1.74).
Kuroda is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against Boston this year, although one outing was cut short when he left in the second inning with a bruised middle finger on his throwing hand.
Lackey hasn't faced the Yankees (51-45) this year. He's 3-2 with a 4.74 ERA against them in seven starts since joining the Red Sox in 2010.
Cano went 1 for 3 with a walk Friday as he showed no ill effects after leaving Tuesday's All-Star game with a bruised quadriceps. The second baseman is 3 for 22 against Boston this year, with New York losing five of seven.
Boston center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury went 2 for 3 with a homer Friday and is batting .396 over his last 23 games.
"It seems like he's been hitting .700," manager John Farrell said. "His timing has been much more Jacoby-like. And his ability to get on base speaks for itself with the havoc he can create."
New York has lost three straight and six of nine after the opener of a 10-game stretch that includes games against Tampa Bay and Texas.
"You can't take too much of it, but obviously this is an important stretch for us that we are in," manager Joe Girardi said. "We understand that. The next three teams we play are all in front of us. We need to play well."
Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino exited in the third inning Friday with left hamstring tightness, and New York's Zoilo Almonte came out in the fifth with a left ankle sprain. Almonte, who was wearing a boot and using crutches after the game, will be placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||0||.000||0||0||0||0||0||1.000||1.000||.000|
|New York Yankees|
|July 19, 2013||Zoilo Almonte||Day-to-Day||Left game - left ankle sprain|
|July 16, 2013||Robinson Cano||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg|
|July 12, 2013||Derek Jeter||Day-to-Day||Strained right quad|
|July 12, 2013||Derek Jeter||15-Day DL||Strained right quad|
|July 10, 2013||Brett Gardner||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right leg contusion|
|July 10, 2013||Travis Hafner||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left foot contusion|
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 19, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|July 13, 2013||Andrew Bailey||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|July 09, 2013||Alex Wilson||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|July 08, 2013||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|July 07, 2013||Andrew Miller||60-Day DL||Left foot surgery - out for season|
|June 29, 2013||Stephen Drew||15-Day DL||Right hamstring tightness|
BOSTON (AP) -- Mariano Rivera has jogged from the right-field bullpen to the Fenway Park mound a number of times in his 18-year career. He's probably never been greeted like he was by the rival Red Sox fans on Saturday.
Rivera entered to a nice ovation and worked a scoreless ninth inning for his 31st save, closing out a strong effort by New York's pitchers that carried the Yankees to a 5-2 victory.
"I always love to pitch here, always," the 43-year old Rivera said. "Yankee Stadium's home, but I love to come here. It's a great atmosphere. We've played big games here. It's always good."
Lyle Overbay and Brett Gardner each collected three hits and drove in a run to back Hiroki Kuroda 's seven strong innings. David Robertson worked a scoreless eighth, setting the stage for Rivera, the All-Star game MVP.
"That doesn't surprise me," Overbay said of Rivera's ovation. "He deserves it. I think everybody's embracing what he's done as a pitcher, so it's well-deserving and shows you the respect they have for him."
Rivera could smile when he was reminded about a standing ovation he got on opening day in 2005, the year after Boston rallied from a 3-0 deficit against New York in the American League Championship series en route to the World Series title.
"That's what happened," he said.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the injury-riddled Yankees, who hope to be bolstered by the return of captain Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez soon.
Mike Carp had three hits and scored a run for the Red Sox. It was just Boston's second loss in its last 11 games in Fenway.
In a matchup of veteran right-handers, Kuroda and John Lackey both mostly relied on fastballs in the low 90s with hard sliders to go along with outstanding control. The pair combined for just one walk - by Kuroda - and threw a high percentage of strikes.
"It was a close game all along, so I had to be careful with my pitches," Kuroda said through a translator. "But when they gave me the run support, I think I was able to be more bold."
Kuroda (9-6) gave up two runs and five hits, striking out four with a pair of wild pitches - one that led to a run. Robinson Cano added two RBIs.
"I think what was most impressive was, in these conditions, to be able to touch 95 in the sixth, seventh innings against the meat of our order when he needed it," Boston manager John Farrell said of the 38-year-old Kuroda. "He's a very good pitcher and had a good day today."
The game was tight when Lackey left with a pair of runners on, trailing 2-0 in the seventh. New York then built its lead to 4-0 in the inning on consecutive RBI singles by Cano and Overbay against reliever Matt Thornton .
Lackey (7-7) was charged with four runs on 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out seven. It snapped a stretch of six consecutive starts when he allowed two or fewer runs, and was just the third time in his 17 starts this season he's given up more than three.
"With how good their guy pitched, it doesn't really matter," Lackey said of being in a tight game. "I'm kind of used to it. A lot of mine have been like that this year. It's kind of been fun."
Jonny Gomes had a sacrifice fly and Carp scored on Kuroda's wild pitch, cutting it to 4-2 in the seventh.
Pitching in sweltering conditions with a game-time temperature of 91 with oppressive humidity, the pair battled through four scoreless innings until New York took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on Gardner's two-out, RBI single.
It appeared the Yankees had squandered a good chance when they had a runner cut down at the plate on Luis Cruz 's grounder to short. But Cruz, who reached on the fielder's choice on the play, advanced on a wild pitch before Gardner's soft liner up the middle just got past the glove of diving second baseman Dustin Pedroia . Eduardo Nunez had a leadoff single, stole second, and was sacrificed, but was thrown out by Stephen Drew .
Cruz's RBI single made it 2-0 in the seventh before Cano and Overbay added their hits.
Boston also had a runner nailed at the plate when Carp was tagged out by Kuroda in the fifth, ending the inning after his pitch ticked off the glove of catcher Stewart and about 20 feet behind the plate.
NOTES: Farrell said before the game that OF Shane Victorino "felt better than I think he expected to feel" after leaving Friday's game with left hamstring tightness. Farrell also said "we expect him back in the lineup (Sunday)." ... Boston moved LHP Jon Lester back a few days and will send right-hander Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.24 ERA) in the series finale against the Yankees' CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.07 ERA) on Sunday night. ... Count Sabathia as one that really enjoyed the four-day All-Star break. In fact, he didn't even know that teammate Cano got plunked on the right knee in the midsummer classic until he heard from one of the coaches before his flight to Boston. "I was just hoping he didn't come in on crutches," he said, smiling. "It was good to get the four days. I got away from baseball. As far as anything going on (with the All-Star game or Home Run Derby), I didn't know anything." ... At the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., C Francisco Cervelli (right hand and elbow) said he has started hitting drills in an indoor cage and OF Curtis Granderson (broken pinkie), expected back early next month, ran the bases during a simulated game but did not hit. He is taking batting practice. ... The start was delayed 21 minutes because of a threat of thunderstorms in the area.